Imaginary Landscapes: The turntable as instrument

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Exploring radical turntablism in experimental music with Shiva Feshareki, Haroon Mirza, Philip Jeck and more.

From Daphne Oram’s unrealised electronic manipulations to Grand Wizard Theodore pulling back records in ’70s New York city, artists and musicians have constantly found new frontiers for turntables and the playback of recorded music.

Spanning movements at the interface of art and music from surrealism, Bauhaus, and Fluxus, to hip-hop, house, and techno, the use of the turntable as an instrument has enabled artists to explore dialogues between past and present, found and original sounds, and live and recorded performance.

Taking its name from John Cage’s Imaginary Landscapes series, which envisions the surface of a record as topography, the film follows eight contemporary sound artists and musicians who are pushing the boundaries of the instrument today.

As director Sam Campbell discovers, far from being an esoteric pursuit, musicians like Haroon Mirza and Graham Dunning are using playful methods to craft original, looped music for dance floors without software.

Campbell also visits Shiva Feshareki, the composer and DJ whose work encompasses both the classical and the electronic, and Janek Schaefer, whose work with multiple turntables is intricately linked to the world of plunderphonics he explored on his VF Mix in 2018.

Whether in Maria Chavez’ dual-styli experiments, the destructive tendencies of Vinyl, Terror & Horror, Marina Rosenfeld’s fascination with dubplates, or Philip Jeck’s 180-record player Vinyl Requiem, Imaginary Landscapes uncovers the extraordinary technologies and DIY innovations that help these artists push their turntables to the limit.

Directed by Sam Campbell
Produced by The Vinyl Factory

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